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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 09-16-2005, 05:40 AM   #1
Joe Miller
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I've noticed on all the pull-up demo videos most CF'ers seem to just barely get their chin over the bar, before dropping down for the next rep.

I've always done pull-ups bringing the bar to my chest at least at my clavicle, preferably against my chest somewhere between clavicle and nipple. This is just the way I was taught for a "proper" pull-up.

As the CF demo's are done by people who could kick my a$$, I know this isn't a strength issue but a difference of "style".

My question is should I adopt the "chin just over bar" approach? I feel like I could do more reps if I did it this way. But then again this seems like a more limited range of motion (I could do more squat reps if I only did half squats too). CF usually emphasises full ROM over max reps, but then again *all* the demos show this "chin over bar" approach, so I feel like maybe there's something I'm missing here.

Could someone who knows something tell me something about the advantages/disadvantages of these two approaches, as well as give me some advice as to what is best for WOD's and CF in general?


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Old 09-16-2005, 07:28 AM   #2
Graham Hayes
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The pro's and con's of both methods are irrelevant. While the range of motion is greater going bar to nips it's not as great as a muscle up; that's no reason not to do them though. I would say 'bar to nips' is good outside the WOD and 'bar to chin' when doing the WOD, so that you can do more reps and do them faster. Other peoples tastes may be different however. Personally I very rarely go that far, preferring the pull up you saw in the video.
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Old 09-16-2005, 08:51 AM   #3
Gerhard Lavin
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I always try and do bar to chest. As the going gets tougher I usually end up only getting my chin over. I think rar to chest and full hang are the ideal ROM but very very difficult when working with high sets/reps. I always do this ROM when doing teh Crossfit warmup.
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Old 09-16-2005, 10:25 AM   #4
Ben Kaminski
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That bar to chin style is iffy at best. People stretching their necks and sticking their chins up at the top, just do half a rep and save yourself the effort of pretending. With that style of pullup you're not getting a full ROM contraction of the shoulder, you're shorting your lats and rotator cuff of some added strength benefits. VIRTUOSITY, that's the word!
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Old 09-16-2005, 01:58 PM   #5
mark twight
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There's a picture of one of our guys doing what we consider a proper pull-up here:

Using a chin over the bar style is just the ego looking for a better time at the expense of work quality. Maybe if you do sternum to bar style pull-ups you should count each pull-up at a factor of 1.25 or shave 2 seconds per pull off the total time to accurately compare with the numbers achieved by those merely pulling to the chin whiskers.

Mark T
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Old 09-16-2005, 02:28 PM   #6
Jesse Woody
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Yeah, if you check out the crossfit journal about pullups, it says "Starting from full hang to chest pressed tightly against the bar". I always strive for this on every pullup, but at the same time, I feel that high-rep pullup efforts are not entirely about perfect form but rather increased power output over time. While I still try to get my chest to the bar during these workouts, I settle for slightly-less than perfect in order to ensure constant motion and increased power.
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Old 09-16-2005, 09:18 PM   #7
Tom Whalen
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On one of WOs on the CrossFit DVD, Fran (I think), the athlete does alternating pull-ups - one to chin over the bar and the next much higher - then repeat. It's quite noticable. Maybe it's a compromise between speed and fullest range of motion - although the latter don't look any slower?
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Old 09-17-2005, 02:26 AM   #8
Kalen Meine
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I think this is one of those fatigue induced/stylistic non-issues. Is chest to bar better? Well, duh. Am I going to give a workout partner as much grief as if, say, they didn't go all the way down (which I see a lot)? No. And during my mid-Helen set of twelve when I'm praying for death, am I going to listen to the workout partner telling me to get the bar to my chest, which I haven't even noticed I'm not doing from the hypoxia? No, I'll gasp out just what they can do with that bar when I'm finished...
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Old 09-17-2005, 05:39 AM   #9
Joe Miller
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Thanks for all the responses. I guess I'll keep doing the "bar to chest" variety, especially as "bar to chin" versions just feel "incomplete" to me.

But I *am* still confused about this. I guess I had just been wondering if the "bar to chin" version had some sort of advantage in terms of power output, as Jesse suggested. [Because I just don't believe it's all about fatigue or ego. See the video of Josh and Greg doing Fran, for example. "Bar just barely to chin" is clearly how they both start from rep 1.]

I'll just settle for my slower times and fewer reps and keep my full(er) ROM, I guess. :happy:
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Old 09-17-2005, 12:53 PM   #10
Ross Hunt
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A good compromise is throat to bar. I have trouble doing the chest-to-bar for high reps.
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